We sat down with industry-leading MSP Chris Ichelson this week to talk about his history in the channel, what he’s seeing in the space today and his biggest takeaways and tips for folks just starting out.
In an industry where everything is continuously changing and evolving, Chris has one pretty simple, practical business rule of thumb: CYA. Or, if you prefer the PG version, CYB (cover your bases). Yes, we’ve made this a thing.
This encompasses myriad points, but Chris focuses on three main ideas: develop a marketing strategy, build in business processes and know when to let go.
Here are Chris’s three tips. Hold on to your … bases.
1. Invest in marketing.
Marketing needs to be pretty high up there on your list of “must-haves.” Some business owners and MSPs completely bypass this component or put it too far down on their list of priorities because it can be a rather big pain point.
What providers need to realize early on is that marketing is critical to the success of their business. Investing in marketing will give you a competitive edge and will put you several steps ahead of those who don’t deem it necessary.
Develop a marketing strategy and stick with it. Put aside a budget and aim it at securing the right opportunities to get your message out. The world needs to know you exist.
2. Make the business your business.
Make sure you have a grasp on your behind-the-scenes operations. It is vital to build in business processes for greater operational efficiency. You need people in place who can help manage and build the business from the back end while you’re out driving sales.
“One of the smartest things we did was bring in an operations leader from the financial services side of things,” says Chris. “You need someone who can tell you how much you can put toward, say, marketing, look for and fix inefficiencies, track progress and keep an eye on profit.”
3. Know when to let go.
At some point, you have to release your grasp. Get to the point where you let go of the business enough so that you can focus on your highest value spot in the business.
It’s not easy. In fact, that’s one of the hardest things to do — to relinquish control of all the moving pieces. But you need to be able to delegate so that you can turn your attention to the bigger picture.
Chris Ichelson, CEO of HTG 360, is a Certified Network and Security Professional with a wide expertise in IT process, IT transformation, business process improvement, security, cloud, network, telecom, infrastructure, design and emerging technologies. He brings business consulting services to clients of all shapes and sizes and has consulted for many companies including Fortune 500 & Global 5000 companies Thyssenkrupp, Berkshire Hathaway and Department of Veteran Affairs. He has an extensive background that enables his clients to gain superior returns on technology investments. He has more than 10 years of experience in his field and comes widely recommended from many C-level executives nationwide.